Which College Ranking List Should You Use?

Many people don’t know how to navigate college rankings. In the last blog post, we discussed what determines rankings and what makes a college number three on US News and number fifteen on Forbes. This blog post takes our analysis a step further, examining the pros and cons of US News rankings and Forbes rankings and seeing which number may be more significant to you.

US News with the quantitative approach entails some pros and cons. Utilizing a quantitative approach allows prestigious and selective schools to be ranked higher. US News also has regional school rankings and ranks schools based on the quality of specific academic programs, which Forbes does not offer. However, the US News rankings are not the best indicator of student quality of life or the overall worth of a diploma from the institution in the job market. US News is a good way to compare schools if prestige and selectivity are important factors to a student, but not the best way to evaluate schools based on student experience or qualitative factors.

Forbes, with the qualitative approach, has its own advantages and disadvantages. Forbes’s methodology allows for the discovery of lesser known schools with academic merit and notable programs by deemphasizing prestige and selectivity. Forbes is also a good source to discover schools that require less input for a greater output, using alumni salaries and success as one of its main factors. However, Forbes is not the best source when comparing schools based on admissions data or prestige and also uses unreliable sources, such as ratemyprofessor.com, as a factor in their rankings. Forbes is best used as a way to compare the net worth of a school’s education, input vs. output, rather than a way to compare the overall net worth of a school’s reputation.

It is important to keep in mind that one list is not necessarily better than the other, and the only accurate ranking is that of the student themselves, based on fit and factors uniquely important to them. US News rankings focus on comparing schools in terms of academic excellence; meanwhile, Forbes rankings focus on comparing schools in terms of investment required for education in lieu of overall alumni success. The best way to utilize rankings is to compare schools’ placements on both lists, and then think about how much a school is worth to you on the educational and economic level.

Leave a Reply